What is the cost of nursing school? (2023)

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Going to nursing school can be a powerful investment in your future. When choosing a school and degree program, prospective nursing students should consider the cost of nursing school so they can anticipate when their investment might pay off.

This article provides an overview of the average nursing school cost at each grade level. We've also outlined some important financial aid resources to help reduce costs. Finally, we discuss the potential return on investment for nursing degrees.


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How much does nursing school cost?

The cost of nursing school can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the degree you choose, whether you attend part-time or full-time, whether you attend an in-state or out-of-state institution, and whether you enroll in a private or public private school. . school.

Degree in Nursing(ADN) tend to cost less, with some programs totaling as little as $3,000, while more advanced degrees can cost as much as $100,000 if you attend a private school.

Nursing School Cost by Degree

Nursing school cost can vary considerably depending on the school and degree level you choose. Below, we've detailed typical nursing school costs for each degree level, ranging from an ADN to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Degree in Nursing

Aspiring nursing students looking for a cost-effective and cost-effective path into nursing may want to consider an associate's degree in nursing. DNA programs typically last two years and are often among the most affordable educational options for nursing students. That being said, tuition and program costs can vary considerably by school.

Several factors can affect the cost of a DNA degree, including whether you choose to attend an in-state or out-of-state institution and whether it is a public or private university. Enrolling in an out-of-state public program can cost more than double the cost of an in-state public program.

Generally, the cost of DNA programs at public universities can range from $3,000 to $10,000 per year. Since most ADNs are two-year degrees, this equates to a total of $6,000 to $20,000. Private universities generally charge higher tuition fees; Private school students can spend over $40,000 on their DNA.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

On average, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing requires four years of full-time study and typically comprises 120 credits. As with an ADN, the total cost of a BSN degree varies greatly depending on whether it's a public or private university and whether you attend in-state or out-of-state. Students can pay between $20,000 and more than $100,000 in total for aBSN degree.

In most cases, out-of-state tuition costs significantly more than in-state tuition. For example, himNational Center for Education Statistics(NCES) reported that the average required undergraduate tuition and fees for full-time students in the 2020-21 academic year were $9,375 at in-state institutions and $27,091 at out-of-state institutions.

Master of Nursing (MSN)

MSN programs take one to two years to complete. The total cost of a Master's in Nursing ranges from $24,000 to $80,000, depending on factors similar to those that affect ADN and BSN costs. Some MSN programs, including private and out-of-state universities or colleges, can cost $100,000 or more.


The length of the program also affects the cost of an MSN, and the number of credits required varies considerably by program. Students may be required to complete between 30 and 70 credit hours, depending on the program they choose.

An MSN typically costs more for part-time students, as part-time enrollment typically increases the total length of the program. Students who attend out-of-state or private universities generally pay more as well.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The full cost of aDNP gradeit can vary significantly depending on several factors, including your highest educational level, as this affects the length of the program. If your highest degree is a bachelor's degree, you can expect a BSN to DNP program to take three to four years. Alternatively, an MSN to DNP program takes approximately two years to complete.

DNP programs can range in cost from around $10,000 to over $100,000. Attending part-time or enrolling in a private university can increase your costs.

Additional Expenses of the School of Nursing

In addition to tuition and fees, prospective nursing students should consider additional nursing school expenses when determining the total cost of nursing school. These expenses may include the following:

  • background scan
  • Daycare for students with families.
  • Immunizations, drug tests and laboratory tests.
  • lab's material
  • Lost or reduced wages for students who quit their jobs or reduce their work hours
  • Preparation for the exam and national registration of licenses
  • physical exams
  • scrub
  • didactic books
  • Transportation costs and parking fees for passengers

NCLEX Preparation and Fees

To become licensed and begin practicing, nursing students must pass theNational Board Licensing Examination(NCLEX). Candidates wishing to practice in the US must pay a $200 application fee to take the NCLEX.

Once you've paid the registration fee and scheduled your exam, you can search for preparation courses and other resources to start preparing.NCLEX preparationcourses can cost anywhere from $25 to over $500. Students can explore a variety of preparation materials and courses to choose one that fits their budget, learning style, and programming needs.

How to pay for nursing school.

Students must submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal student aid, including loans. For more information, check out our guides that explainwhat is FAFSAmiHow to apply for financial aid using the FAFSA.

Nursing students can look into scholarships, grants, and tuition reimbursement programs to help lower the cost of nursing school. EITHERAmerican Association of Colleges and Nursingupdates a list of help resources for nursing students. Below, we explore various means of financial aid to help offset and alleviate nursing school costs.


Scholarships are generally awarded to students based on academic performance or financial need. Scholarships are available through public and private resources and do not need to be repaid. For example,Johnson y JohnsonIt's inUS Health Resources and Services Administrationoffer scholarships to nursing students.

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Grants are need-based awards typically issued by corporations, organizations, foundations, and government organizations. Like scholarships, grants do not require repayment. Several government and private agencies offer scholarships to nursing students. For example, himCalifornia Department of Health Access and Informationawards scholarships to nursing students who commit to practicing in underserved areas.

student loans

Program applicants may also apply for student loans to pay for nursing school. Unlike scholarships and grants, students must repay the loans. Nursing students can choose between two main types of loans: federal loans and private loans. For suggestions, check out our list ofbest loans for nursing schools.

To apply for federal financial aid, including federal loans, students must submit the FAFSA. Federal loans generally earn less interest than private loans. There are three main types of federal loans that students can apply for:

  • Direct subsidized loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • PLUS direct loans

Federal loans come with annual loan limits. For example, Direct Subsidized Loans are capped at $5,500 to $12,500 per year. Students who have exhausted their federal loan offers and need additional financial assistance may need to seek private loans.

Student loan forgiveness programs are available to nursing graduates and offer the opportunity to eliminate student loan debt. For more information, see our guide to the differentways to get student loan forgiveness for nurses.

Make sure you fully understand the specifications, requirements, and terms of a potential loan program before you agree to a loan or loan forgiveness.

Tuition reimbursement programs

Employers often offer tuition reimbursement programs, which are becoming more common in the healthcare industry to address the national shortage of nurses in hospitals and health care facilities. A tuition reimbursement program can be similar to an employer reimbursing some or all of a graduate's tuition, as long as the graduate commits to work as a nurse in a specific location or for a specific number of years.

Common rebate programs may include the following conditions:

  • Successful completion of the degree program.
  • Maintain a specific grade point average
  • Agree to work for a specific hospital or other health care facility for a specified period of time
  • Agree to work in a specific geographic area, such as a rural region

For example, the federal governmentNursing Education Loan Repayment Programrepays student loans to qualified nurses who commit to work in nonprofit clinics or hospitals.

School of Nursing Return on Investment

The return on investment is the profit you made on your investment (in this case, your salary after finishing nursing school) divided by the cost of your investment (the cost of nursing school), multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.


Let's say you spend $50,000 to earn a BSN and become a registered nurse (RN). According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs earn a median annual salary of $77,600 per year, which means you'll recoup your investment (and then some) within a year of working as an RN. Let's break it down:

$ 77.600 / $ 50.000 x 100 = 155,2

After one year working as an RN, you can see an ROI of 155.2%.

Nursing School Cost FAQ

How much is the nursing fee?

Tuition costs for nursing school vary considerably depending on the degree level you want and the school you choose. Looking at ADN, BSN, MSN, and DNP programs, nursing school can range in cost from around $3,000 to over $100,000.

Is it worth being a nurse?

Yes, for many people nursing is a worthwhile career. Nursing can be physically and emotionally demanding and often involves long working hours. On the other hand, nursing offers opportunities to engage in meaningful work that provides essential care and support to others. Nursing offers job security, has high earning potential, and can offer variety in your day-to-day work. After one year of working as an RN, you can recoup more than 100% of your investment in nursing school.

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